A woman from the village of Leuth in Gelderland used Facebook to trace and cut a deal with the man who stole her purse, the AD says on Wednesday.
The thief has agreed to pay Hetty Ermers €10 a month until he has repaid the €350 he stole after talking her purse in a supermarket in the nearby town of Beek a week before Christmas.
Ermers first reported the theft to the police and then started a campaign on Facebook to find the thief, who was visible on the supermarket security footage.
In her first message she urged the thief to return the purse, saying she accepted the fact the money might be gone but there were plenty of other things in it she would like to have back.
After the purse was found, she put up a new Facebook message, threatening to go public with the security footage unless he came forward within 24 hours. Nothing happened, and Ermers published the photo – which she had been given by an anonymous source. The thief, under pressure from his family, contacted her.
Ermers told the AD the man is currently in serious debt and took her purse because it was there, not because he had set out to steal. ‘That is no justification for what he did, but on the other hand, he does deserve a second chance,’ she said.
Ermers admits her action was controversial. ‘You are publicly shaming someone,’ she said. ‘But at the same time, I did give him the chance to come forward. And he should keep his paws off my property.’
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